Jacquelyn "Jaci" Davette Velasquez (Spanish Jaci Velásquez, born October 15, 1979 in Houston, Texas) is an American actress and Contemporary Christian and Latin pop singer, performing in both English and Spanish.
Velasquez has sold almost five million albums worldwide, recorded three Platinum and three Gold albums, and recorded 16 singles that hit No. 1 plus six more that entered the top 10. She has received seven Dove Awards, including Best New Artist and Female Vocalist of the Year, as well as three Grammy nominations, five Latin Billboard Award nominations, and an American Music Award nomination.
Since late 2010, Velasquez has co-hosted a morning radio show with Doug Griffin.
Velasquez was born in Houston, Texas. She is of Mexican, Spanish, French, Scottish, and Arab ancestry. She grew up in an evangelical church where her parents were singers and pastors. Although she has described herself as a "Non-denominational Christian", she stated in an interview with Morris Cerullo that "you're talking to an Assemblies of God's girl".
At the age of nine, she began traveling with her father, who by that time was a full-time singing evangelist. She began by singing backup, then later sang solo, releasing two independent records. It was while on the road that she was discovered by a representative of Myrrh Records.
Velasquez released her national debut album Heavenly Place in 1996; five of its songs became No. 1 hits. The album was later certified Platinum. Velasquez has been distinguished as the fastest selling solo debut recording artist in her genre and the first solo artist in Christian music history to reach gold status with a debut album. She has since released six more English-language albums, two of which were certified Gold. She has produced sixteen No. 1 Christian radio hits and six other top-10 singles, and has won seven Dove awards, including New Artist of the Year and two Female Vocalist of the Year wins. Velasquez has also done ad campaigns for Pepsi, Target, Doritos, John Freida's Frizz-Ease hair products and Helzberg Diamonds.
In 1998, she signed to Sony Discos and was introduced to Rudy Pérez, who produced her first Spanish-language crossover album Llegar a Ti. This album enabled Velasquez to achieve crossover success by building a fan base among Hispanics. Her first single, "Llegar a Ti", topped the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks and became the first Christian song to top that chart. The song also gave her a Latin Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Female Vocal Performance.
In 2001, she released her second Spanish effort, Mi Corazón. The album's lead single, "Como Se Cura Una Herida," topped the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks, and became one of the biggest singles of the year, receiving multiple award nominations and wins. The album received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Latin Pop Album.
Her Latin music success includes four Spanish-language releases, three No. 1 Latin Billboard Singles, two Platinum albums, a Premio Lo Nuestro Award for New Artist of the Year, two Billboard Latin Music Awards, and three Dove Awards for Spanish Language Album of the Year.
In September 2008, Velasquez was chosen by the State Department's Bureau of International Information Programs as one of the 15 Prominent Hispanic-Americans in the Arts in America.
In 2010, she recorded her first Spanish project since 2003 with Juan Carlos Rodriguez, from the Christian Latin pop duo Tercer Cielo.
In August 2011, Velasquez signed with a new label, Inpop Records, and her album, Diamond, was released on February 7, 2012. On September 4, 2012, Velasquez released her first Spanish-language lullaby album, Buenas noches mi sol with Fisher-Price.
Velasquez made her acting debut in the 2002 film Chasing Papi, which also featured Sofia Vergara, Roselyn Sanchez, and Eduardo Verastegui, as well as Nicole Scherzinger in a cameo role. It was released nationwide in the United States in April 2003. The movie reached No. 11 at the box office, and grossed $6 million worldwide. Velasquez also starred in the Christian films The Encounter and Jerusalem Countdown, both released in 2011.
In November 2010, Velasquez began co-hosting the "Family Friendly Morning Show" with Doug Griffin after being a guest host for several months. The show airs on over 100 U.S. radio stations for four hours each weekday morning.
Velasquez married Darren Potuck, of the band AutoVaughn, on August 16, 2003. They were divorced in 2005.
On December 17, 2006, she married Nic Gonzales in a private ceremony in Austin, Texas. Gonzales is a member of Salvador, a Christian group with whom she had been touring. Their first son Zealand was born in 2007 and their second son Soren in 2009.
Velasquez and her husband were featured in an episode of the home remodeling reality TV show Renovation Realities which aired December 6, 2014 on the DIY Network
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